Yesterday, Aaron asked if I was going to make bread. The birthday boy glow was still halo-ing out from him, and I do love him a lot. Bread it was.
A little picture to get your appetite whetted:
This bread is not hard to make. I make the dough in my KitchenAid mixer, which takes the difficulty level down a few more notches, but it's still totally possible without the KA. (Which, as a side note, I use practically every day. It is incredible. I think I could become a spokewoman for the KitchenAid mixer. Since I'm on the subject, look at this cute thing from an Etsy artist. )
Here is the recipe:Carol's Homemade Bread
2 T. yeast
1 c. lukewarm water
1 c. lukewarm water
2 t. sugar
Mix yeast, water, and sugar together. Let sponge for five minutes. It will look something like this:
(The reflection gives me away...I am wearing socks and granny houseshoes.)
Add 1 c. flour and let sit for 20 minutes.
Add 3 T. oil, 1 c. sugar, 1 T. salt, 3 c. lukewarm water, and 7-8 c. flour. Sometimes I use less sugar. I have found that I usually need upside of 8 c. flour to make the dough not sticky. This recipe is so versatile, because you can substitute in a lot of things for some of the flour. For instance, yesterday I used 4 c. whole wheat flour, a little bit of oat bran (1/2 c. maybe?), and some wheat gluten. Mix all this together (either using the dough hook on the KA or a strong hand and a wooden spoon). If you are using the dough hook, you can let it do the kneading, or you can also knead by hand. I usually knead some by hand, because it is cathartic.
After kneading 8-10 minutes, cover the dough and let rise in a warm place 1 hour. Do not think that it is a good idea to set it on the stove and turn on a nearby burner to create a warm atmosphere. I once
did that heard a story about a college girl who did that with roll dough and the towel caught on fire, sending the whole bowl up in flames. The fire extinguisher had to be used, campus safey had to be called...it was not pretty.
After 1 hour or so, punch dough down in the middle. Then shape into loaves. This recipe makes approximately 3 medium sized loaves. Let the loaves rise again until double.Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Carol always brushed butter over the top of the warm loaves, and I do this too.
One more thing: eat.